Problems getting a shaving

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Forum topic by reytt posted 09-19-2016 12:19 PM 993 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 765 days

09-19-2016 12:19 PM

I found a Stanley Bailey no3 plane in pretty decent shape. I’ve taken it apart and adjusted it along the lines of what I’ve seen online (chip breaker a couple mm above the end of the blade), I’ve sharpened the blade to 25 degrees, etc. When I use it, however, I don’t get shavings so much as I do sawdust. I’ve tried adjusting in very small increments can’t seem to get things working. Does anyone have advice for where my problem might be?

25 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile


3095 posts in 1630 days

#1 posted 09-19-2016 12:44 PM

How did you sharpen?

Needs to be razor sharp.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View rjpat's profile


46 posts in 2127 days

#2 posted 09-19-2016 01:04 PM

Check the cap iron/chip breaker to make sure it hasn’t slipped down to far on the iron. Sometimes, if you don’t get the screw holding the cap iron tight enough, it will slip down and cause this type of problem

View terryR's profile


7351 posts in 2457 days

#3 posted 09-19-2016 02:01 PM

Here’s more info on the chipbreaker set-up,

Try positioning the chipbreaker closer to the cutter’s edge, about 1mm, and tighten that screw. You may need to flatten the edge of the chipbreaker which contacts the iron, if there is a tiny gap between the 2 debris clogs up the area, and you cannot make shavings. usually sawdust results.

Don’t give up. Planes don’t come with instructions, so lots of folks give up on them because they seem too difficult. Just improve one variable at a time until you get the desired results. Keep asking questions. :)

Also 25 degrees is a pretty steep angle, and may dull quickly. 30 degrees is standard for most stanley bench planes. This won’t prevent shaving, though.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 851 days

#4 posted 09-19-2016 02:53 PM

Yep, all the advice given so far is what I done. I’m no expert but TerryR is absolutely correct! The first go round is a learning experience, but after you get that first one to shave the rest are a lot easier. And its well worth the time and effort. But be warned HAND PLANES CAN BE ADDICTIVE

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 924 days

#5 posted 09-19-2016 03:01 PM

I go against the majority here and suggest you buy a new top quality plane to start with. Learning to hand plane well is tricky enough with perfect equipment.

Rehabbing an old plane to be functional adds a layer of difficulty, not to mention that the tool may not be capable of being tuned to work as well as a new Lie Nielsen or Veritas. (Queue backlash…). With an L-N you know you have a flat sole, a flat blade with good steel, etc.

Once you’ve got planing figured out, you may be able to more successfully get old planes back into service.

Yes, a new L-N is much much more expensive than a garage sale 100-yr old plane. What’s your time worth?

View johnstoneb's profile (online now)


3014 posts in 2322 days

#6 posted 09-19-2016 03:10 PM

I think you need to go back to sharpening, Without a good edge you have no chance of a shaving. all the advice you have been given is good but without at least a decent edge you have no chance at a shaving of any kind.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View terryR's profile


7351 posts in 2457 days

#7 posted 09-19-2016 04:03 PM

+1 to starting with a iron that will shave hair off your arm. flatten the back, flatten the bevel, remove the burr off the back. A honing guide is highly recommended! for the bevel.

And, I would say no to a new plane. Learn how to use that stanley. It can make shavings too thin to measure, and what you learn is worth as much as the new plane.

yes, I have new planes. Love them! But, I love my vintage planes even more. It’s all good. :)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View theoldfart's profile


10051 posts in 2600 days

#8 posted 09-19-2016 04:23 PM

A numero uno? Now that is just mean Terry!

Reytt, the advice above is sound. It takes time to learn to use hand planes initially and even longer to use them well. It is worth the effort. The first time you plane a board and realize it does not need sanding before finishing, a light will go off in your head. Good luck!

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


15584 posts in 2767 days

#9 posted 09-19-2016 05:04 PM

An early key is setting depth of cut, something you’d have to learn w/ a LN too.

Back the iron away until it doesn’t make contact with the wood at all. That’s first. Then add 1/4 ot 1/2 turns until it starts cutting just the thinnest of shavings. No chatter, almost like cutting nothing at all. If this works, you’ve attained a good measure of sharp too. If you just scrape the surface vs. shave, not sharp.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View reytt's profile


5 posts in 765 days

#10 posted 09-19-2016 08:48 PM

Thanks for all the advice. I do have a new low angle jack from veritas, but I’d like to try and get this smoothing plane setup correctly. It seems to be in pretty solid shape.

I’ve been sharpening with a jig on diamond sharpening plates to 25 degrees. It seems to be sharp, but I’ll revisit sharpening this evening and see if it makes a difference. I’ll also try adjusting the chipbreaker placement, although I don’t think that’s the issue here as it’s not getting jammed up so much as just scrapping the surface.

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 851 days

#11 posted 09-19-2016 09:11 PM

Don’t forget about flattening that chip breaker, I didn’t see were it was important but I done it just because an old guy with xp told me to. Well its most definably important :) even if it doesn’t clog, it cuts much better when it makes full contact. Sharpest iron in the world wont help if its not properly tuned all around. once its there, its low maintenance there after.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View waho6o9's profile


8436 posts in 2726 days

#12 posted 09-19-2016 09:21 PM

Strop after sharpening

Paul Sellers ^

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 924 days

#13 posted 09-19-2016 10:36 PM

If the sole of his old plane is not flat he may quit woodworking before he manages to get the thing working.

If the blade is all cockamamie, he may quit woodworking before getting the back flat and the bevel straight. (Let’s say it has a back bevel. Hello 9 hours of flattening. Do you think he has a complete set of waterstones and a honing guide if this is his first plane.)

Just saying, it’s tough on a COMPLETE BEGINNER to ask them to start with a piece of crap(1) that could potentially take many hours to get into working order, and who has no frame of reference on whether sole/blade/other are in good order, or not.

Anyway, that’s why I suggest starting with something easy. Baby steps.

Plus, like it or not, the new ones are better. Yes, I know, I KNOW, you can get perfect shavings with both. But it’s not as easy. The modern engineering IS superior.

(1)No, we don’t know that it is a piece of crap. We also don’t know that it isn’t.

View chrisstef's profile


17683 posts in 3155 days

#14 posted 09-19-2016 10:45 PM

Shoot some pics of your set up if you can.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View bandit571's profile (online now)


21314 posts in 2832 days

#15 posted 09-19-2016 10:55 PM

Ok…I have had a standing offer for awhile…

Pay postage both ways to my shop, I will rehab it back to like new, and making shavings the way it was designed to do. I will seal the plane or planes back into the box they were mailed in, apply their return shipping label and send it back as soon as I am able to. Usually less than a week, sometimes the next day.

The ONLY expense is the shipping costs both ways.

Without a picture of the plane or what it is doing,,all else is just a WAG. As Sherlock Holmes would say..”Data, I must have data, before I can solve a mystery…...”

Sole out of flat? Easy enough to fix
Edge of the iron has a problem? Easy enough to fix
Settings wrong? I will send it back, set up to shave right out of the box.
Buy a brand new plane? Knee jerk reaction, easy enough to spend other people’s money. Make a veteran plane do it job again? Not all that hard to do…..might take a bit of…elbow grease? Even new planes will need to be adjusted, and MAINTAINED, as with use they will slowly wear down. What then? Have the dealer come out and do the work for you? Nah, you won’t learn a thing doing that.

Maybe I should do a pictorial about HOW I do a rehab on a plane? maybe in hopes that a new person might LEARN how to set up and use a plane? Nah…too many here would decry that fact that THEY don’t have the time to do the tasks needed ( maybe they just go buy another plane) and then just sit the plane on a shelf…

IF there is some interest, I may do a blog about this sort of rehabs…..maybe?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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